The 2017 SAPCA Awards attracted a record number of entries, with a total of 18 contenders making it on to the final long list. From the list, a panel of judges chose Rocklyn Sports as the overall winner of the prize for the company’s work on an indoor tennis centre at Ellesmere College in Shropshire.
In the sixth of a series of articles, highlighting the 17 finalists, we look at how S&C Slatter helped Willmott Dixon overcome a challenging site to build the £19m Xcel Sports Hub in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.
The Xcel Sports Hub opened in 2017, following a £19m investment by Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC). Facilities at the hub include an eight-lane athletics track, two full-size 3G football pitches, natural turf training pitches, a clubhouse, a 500-capacity spectator stand, floodlighting, new access road and associated car parking.
Construction of the facility – occupying an ex-landfill site next to an existing leisure centre built 10 years ago – was led by Willmott Dixon.
According to a spokesperson for Willmott Dixon, one of the biggest challenges faced by the build team was the remediation works, which were needed in order to convert the contaminated landfill site into clean and usable land.
“In addition to reprocessing of the waste, significant amount of ground stabilisation work was required to ensure the strict settlement criteria for the specialist pitches,” the spokesperson said.
In all, 75,000 cubic metres of landfill was remediated and 12,000 cubic metres of fill material was imported to the site.
SAPCA member S&C Slatter was responsible for the design and delivery of the hub’s external sports and infrastructure facilities – including the four football pitches, the eight-lane athletics track and all surrounding infrastructure including a new access road to site and the large car park.
The work was led by S&C Slatter’s pre-construction manager Ben O’Connor and contracts manager Peter Fowler.
“The Xcel Sports Hub was an extensive and challenging brief, embracing a number of key elements within the overall development,” said O’Connor.
“The entire ground and facilities are built in accordance with FA National Ground Grading Category C, with the 3G football turf stadium and training pitches both designed to play to FIFA Quality Performance Standard.
“As well as the two 3G pitches, we constructed a 6,160sq m natural grass training pitch and a 9,000sq m UK Athletics level 2 competition grade athletics facility – centred on an eight-lane polymeric running track with a full range of field athletics.
“We also built a 242-space car park, access road, footpaths, hardstandings and landscaped natural grass amenity areas.”
The new Sports Hub provides a shared home ground for Walton Casuals Football Club, Walton & Hesham Football Club and Walton Athletics Club.
The pitches can be divided into thirds for five/six-a-side games and there is a four-changing room pavilion, situated adjacent to the pitch.
The Xcel Sports Hub will be operated by People for Places (PFP), which also manages the adjacent Xcel Leisure Complex and Hurst Pool.
“We delivered an exceptional end product which will be seen as one of Surrey’s most important community assets,” O’Connor said.
Councillor Stuart Selleck, leader of Elmbridge Borough Council, added: “We are proud of the new sports hub.
“Whether you play, support or volunteer, the Xcel Sports Hub offers a range of opportunities for the whole community to come together and to enjoy sport in a modern, welcoming and friendly environment.”
According to Sport England, the new hub will become an important regional venue.
“There is no doubt that the Sports Hub in Walton-on-Thames will have huge benefit to the local community,” the grassroots agency said in a statement.
“Sport England is committed to helping people and communities across the country create sporting habits for life. State-of-art facilities like this will get more people playing sport and will create opportunities for people to excel at their chosen sport.”
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